Securing intellectual capital : an exploratory study in Australian universities

Bongiovanni, Ivano and Renaud, Karen and Cairns, George (2020) Securing intellectual capital : an exploratory study in Australian universities. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 21 (3). pp. 481-505. ISSN 1469-1930 (

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Purpose – To investigate the links between IC and the protection of data, information and knowledge in universities, as organizations with unique knowledge-related foci and challenges.Design/methodology/approach – We gathered insights from existing IC-related research publications to delineate key foundational aspects of IC, identify and propose links to traditional information security that impact the protection of IC. We conducted interviews with key stakeholders in Australian universities in order to validate these links.Findings – Our investigation revealed two kinds of embeddedness characterizing the organizational fabric of universities: (1) vertical and (2) horizontal, with an emphasis on the connection between these and IC-related knowledge protection within these institutions.Research implications – There is a need to acknowledge the different roles played by actors within the university, and the relevance of information security to IC-related preservation.Practical implications – Framing information security as an IC-related issue can help IT security managers communicate the need for knowledge security with executives in higher education, and secure funding to preserve and secure such IC-related knowledge, once its value is recognized.Originality/value – This is one of the first studies to explore the connections between data and information security and the three core components of IC’s knowledge security in the university context.


Bongiovanni, Ivano, Renaud, Karen ORCID logoORCID: and Cairns, George;